The repeated postponing of the Nascar Daytona 500 due to weather this week, along with a good bit of public
New rubber compounds and computer designed tread patterns have made it possible to design road car tires which are quite safe to drive in the rain at speeds 1960's NASA scientists might not have believed possible.
At high speed, the name of the game is water elimination and a modern road car tire will expell about 13 liters /3.5 gallons of water per second.
The ultimate expression of wet weather tire of the moment, the Pirelli Cinturato Formula 1 will expel about 60 liters /16 gallons of water per second at 300km/h. To put it another way, on a minute and a half lap, say at a high speed track like Silverstone, a single Formula One car traveling at an average speed of 200 km/h will pump something in the order of 14,000 liters / 3700 gallons of water per lap. Mind boggling.
But even that is not always enough. Water, like in the 1960's still cannot be compressed, and when the water gets deeper than the tread blocks, like in Montreal in 2011, you just have to park it.
That's rare, the more typical occurrence is that track conditions change during a race, making spectators happy and tire engineers and strategist earn their keep.
Martin Brundle explains what Axis readers probably already know...
Not just F1 of course, every racing series (except for NASCAR) races in the rain with reasonable safety, including at Daytona...
We all benefit from trickle down and today's top brands can produce tires that are quite amazing. Last year, at the One Lap of America we scored a .825G side load on the wet skidpad using off the shelf road car rubber, not an exciting video but a figure that would have certainly impressed those 1960's NASA engineers!